States can have sub-groups among SC/ST
Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – Welfare schemes
- Recently, the Supreme Court held that States can sub-classify Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in the Central List.
Key takeaways from Justice Arun Mishra’s judgement:
- Reservation has created inequalities within the reserved castes itself.
- Benefits of reservation are being used by a few.
- Caste, occupation, and poverty are interwoven.
- The State cannot be deprived of the power to take care of the qualitative and quantitative differences between different classes.
- ST and SC in the Central List do not constitute a homogenous group.
Do you know?
- The judgment is significant as it will provide the push to extend the creamy layer concept to the SC and ST.
- In 2004, the Chinnaiah judgment had held that allowing the States to unilaterally make a class within a class of members of the SC would lead to changes in the Presidential list.
- The issue has now been referred to a seven-judge Bench of the court.
Important value additions
- The Central List of SC and ST are notified by the President under Articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution.
- The consent of the Parliament is required to exclude or include castes in the List.
- Thus, States cannot unilaterally add or pull out castes from the List.
- The Supreme Court has reasoned that sub-classifications within the Presidential/Central List do not amount to changing it. No caste is excluded from the list.